Child-proofing the planet

Cool Tips for a Hot Planet

By Ginny Colling

Surveys reveal that today’s kids are stressing over climate breakdown.

When our babies arrive, we child-proof the cupboards, gate the stairs. We don’t leave them in a hot car with the windows rolled up. As they grow, we tell them to eat their vegetables and do their homework. We read to them, schlepp them to sports, to music lessons. Why? Because we want them safe, healthy, happy and equipped for the future.

It was that way when we were kids, too.

But things have changed. This is not the climate we grew up with. It’s not even the climate my daughter was born into 28 years ago. Now we’re telling them to eat their vegetables in a house that’s on fire. In fact, our global home has become so hot people have been experimenting with cooking everything from burgers to cakes in overheated cars. And ocean temperatures off south Florida reached hot tub levels in July, which was expected to be the hottest month ever recorded.

That month the UN secretary general said, “The era of global warming has ended. The era of global boiling has arrived.”

When I was born atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were 310 parts per million. When my daughter was born, they were 360. Today, they top 420 – something not seen for millions of years. That extra C02 is largely from burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas since the onset of the Industrial Revolution. It thickens our atmospheric blanket, holding in more planetary heat.

A study released in May unveiled some of the culprits: heat trapping emissions of 88 of the world’s largest fossil fuel producers (including several in Canada) are responsible for 37 per cent of the extreme wildfires in western North America since 1986.

Surveys reveal that today’s kids are stressing over climate breakdown and some are questioning whether or not to have kids of their own.

That’s the kind of threat parents are increasingly adding to their child protection concerns. In 2019, a Canadian dad started For Our Kids, a national network of parents and grandparents that now numbers 5,400 members and 25 affiliated groups, including For Our Grandchildren in Peterborough.

They are united by their love for their children and instinct to protect them from worsening climate risks. For Our Kids provides research on policy issues and support for local environmental actions – everything from writing politicians to organizing bike to school days.
This summer they’ve been calling for improvements to the federal government’s Sustainable Jobs legislation so no one gets left behind in the transition to a clean energy economy.

They are also encouraging support for the Climate Aligned Finance Act. Canada’s big banks are among the top 20 financiers of fossil fuels in the world, with RBC number one. The proposed act would ensure Canada’s banks develop plans that align with climate science instead of making the situation worse.

And they want parents to tell the federal government to speed up Clean Electricity Regulations, before further delays allow provinces like Ontario to expand the use of gas-fired power plants.

At a time when oil and gas companies keep rolling up the car windows with our kids inside, it’s great to hear about parents using their fierce protective instincts to fight back and help ensure that in future, the vegetables kids eat are cooked on the stove, not in the car.


  1. Wallace says:

    blah blah blah — go to China and tell them to stop building coal fired power plants (they build 1 every single week) — Stop the fear mongering, here in Canada, which emits a miniscule amount of CO2 . And yes I know you’ll reply the way all the extremists do. You’ll say that Canada has a very high emission level, per person. The amount , per person, is high in Canada because we live in a relatively wealthy country that has the 2nd coldest climate on Earth. We can afford fuel. Maybe you wish the masses were living in poverty and couldn’t afford fuel. Even if there were only 100 people living in all of Canada, those 100 would have a very high emission level because they would need to stay warm. It would be ridiculous to tell them to stop using fuel, and live in the cold , and die of pneumonia like so many do in poor, cold countries, while billions of people in other countries, like China, USA and India, are emitting thousands of times more per year. Go buy yourself another EV (which has the same , or larger carbon footprint from beginning of manufacturing -including mining all those precious metals used in the battery as a fuel efficient gas powered car (you probably own a car with a gas engine already , like everyone else that owns an EV, to use when you want to travel longer distances ). Go live in a tent , and put up a windmill to create enough electricity to power your space heater and frying pan. Do what you want, but stop telling the rest of us how to live. Your hero, Greta, recently deleted a tweet she sent out 5 years ago, saying we, as a species, only had 5 years left . Enough of the fear mongering nonsense. BTW I’m 55 years old, and the weather here in Ontario is EXACTLY the same as it was when I was a kid. My dad is 86 yrs old. He says the weather is EXACTLY the same now as it was when he was a kid. People like you are the only ones that claim to see any difference in weather. Why is that ???

  2. Lynda Palmer says:

    Weather is not climate.
    If you do not believe facts , science , trends and your own eyes please get out of the way of those who seek viable solutions.

    • Wallace says:

      Canadas contribution of co2 is miniscule—- either accept the facts or ignore them . Also , when I see you loud people ,who are pretending to be so worried about pollution from fossil fuels , refusing to drive cars, refusing to go on boats ,snow mobiles, 4 wheelers, motorcycles, refusing to go on airplanes, refusing to take cruises on huge ships, refusing to burn fuel for heat, refusing to buy products made in China and India, etc etc etc , I’ll take you seriously. Until then, keep your silly, ill informed opinions to yourself. Your virtue signaling nonsense is boring.

  3. Kathy and Peter Anderson says:

    Thanks Ginny. We continue to appreciate your thoughtful articles about the climate crisis. Thanks for helping to keep us informed.

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